Rivaldo laments lack of quality footballers in La Liga
Greater Noida, Oct 21 (IANS) Brazilian football legend Rivaldo on Tuesday lamented the lack of competition in the Spanish La Liga, saying that Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are dominating because of lesser number of quality players.
The former Barcelona playmaker, 44, pointed out that small budgeted clubs like Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia also won La Liga titles at the turn of the millenium but now lack competence.
Since Valencia's league title in 2003-04 season, Real and Barcelona have accounted for 11 titles. Atletico have been competitive in this decade only and won the La Liga title in 2013-14.
"Football changes. In my time, the quality of players was better. Ditto for the quantity of good players. We have two or three strong teams nowadays. People only talk today about Real Madrid and Barcelona and recently about Atletico Madrid," Rivaldo, who spent five seasons with the Catalan giants between 1997 and 2002, said during a visit to Delhi Dynamos Soccer School.
Rivaldo, a 2002 World Cup winner, refused to blame his country's head coach Luis Felipe Scolari for the disastrous campaign in the 2014 World Cup.
Scolari, who also coached the 2002 Brazilian squad to glory, was blamed for his tactics in the 2014 World Cup which saw hosts Brazil not getting a podium finish. They were thrashed 1-7 in the semi-finals against Germany before losing to the Netherlands 0-3 in the bronze medal play-off.
"Scolari was an important figure in 2002. Football is not like tennis. We play as a group. Everyone was a champion in that time. In 2014, everyone is responsible for the result. It happens," the 1999 World Footballer of the Year said.
"But the result (1-7) happens once in 100 years."
Rivaldo, who infamously urged people not to visit Brazil ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, defended his statements.
He had made his comments that decried his country's crime and political situation.
"The criminality and politics in Brazil today is complex. We have many problems in Brazil before we go on to host Olympic Games. We need to spend money on education, hospitals and so on," he said.
"There are a lot of poor people in Brazil and we need to help them. We have many priorities."